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Bibical story 'Barabbas' opens at New Dawn

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actors Khaled Warawra and Gary Smoot, seated and playing the roles of Bandits, are greeted by Martin Gravely in the role of Barabbas, in the New Dawn Theater performance of the play "Barabbas" in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actor Martin Gravely plays the role of Barabbas, shouts from a jail cell in the New Dawn Theater performance of the play "Barabbas" in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actors Khaled Warawra and Gary Smoot, seated and playing the roles of Bandits, are greeted by Martin Gravely in the role of Barabbas, in the New Dawn Theater performance of the play "Barabbas" in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actor Gary Smoot, in the role of a Bandit, stares down another Bandit during the New Dawn Theater performance of the play "Barabbas" in Duluth.

If You Go

What: “Barabbas”

When: 8 p.m. today, 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, runs through May 5

Where: New Dawn Theater, 3087 Main St., Duluth

Cost: $10 to $15

For more information: Visit www.newdawntheate...>

DULUTH -- People know the story behind Jesus' crucifixion, but have you ever thought about what the uninformed and non-believers were thinking about during that time?

New Dawn Theater presents "Barabbas," a story told through the eyes of a murderous man, Barabbas.

"We do a Christmas show every year and we've wanted to do an Easter show for a long time, but it's so hard to get in touch with 'The Passion Play,'" director Sherry Ingbritsen said. "This play is something different. I wanted to make sure that we covered the Easter season. When I saw this script, it just hit me. Even though Easter was a little early this year, it's still the Easter season."

The audience watches as Barabbas (played by Martin Gravely) as he and his gang terrorize the city, stealing from people and murdering Romans and their "collaborators."

He is finally imprisoned with Jesus (Sean Anderson), his friend Ashkar (Roger Ferrier) and a common thief (Cameron Cox). Barabbas was released by Pontious Pilate (Eric Arvidson and Jim Macknik) after the angry crowds called for his release -- Jesus was crucified instead.

There is a crucifixion scene, which wasn't in the original script.

"The crucifixion scene is not in the script, but we felt it needed to be because of the impact of what happened, what was witnessed and what was the reaction afterward," Ingbritsen said. "We added it and it made such an impact."

The pardoned murder couldn't understand why Pilate released him over the man who had done nothing wrong.

While Barabbas is trying to live a low-profile existence, word gets out that Jesus isn't dead -- and he has followers. Barabbas's girlfriend Rachel (Ramona Werner) begins to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, which it upsetting to the "conformed" criminal.

Even his friends start to change their opinions, which makes Barabbas angrier, but his life take a turn -- for the better.

"There's the message of the crucifixion, of Jesus dying for us, saving us," Werner said. "I think this is an interesting twist in that no one has ever looked at it through a bad guy's point of view. All of his reasons for everything is selfish. For someone with that many sins and that big of a past, to realize the Lord died for him, to me that is the strongest message of the play."

No matter what, people can change, according to the director.

"It shows no matter how bad, how evil, what your past is, there is redemption for everyone," Ingbritsen said. "There is a way to turnaround and find goodness -- it's in everyone."

Due to the historical content and some violence, the play isn't recommended for young children.

"Barabbas" runs through May 5.